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Study Reveals Spinal Cord Injury Risk Increasing Especially for Seniors

December 17, 2014

Whether you are injured in a tractor-trailer collision, fall from a scaffolding or other serious accident, a spinal cord injury (SCI) can have a profound impact on every aspect of your life.  Because the spinal cord functions as the communication highway between your brain and body, injury to your spinal cord can adversely affect your sensory perception and motor functions.  In extreme cases, a person experiences a complete loss of use and feeling in the lower extremities (paraplegia) or all extremities (quadriplegia).

Sadly, a recent study suggests that the prevalence of this type of devastating injury is on the rise.  A research team at Johns Hopkins University analyzed data from over 43,000 adults who were treated in emergency rooms for SCIs during a two year period.  The researchers compared the data to similar data during a prior five year period.  The findings included the following:

  • Senior citizens face a heightened risk of dying when seeking emergency attention for SCI injuries; they also are more likely to require hospitalization.
  •  The prevalence of SCIs is increasing, especially among individuals 65 or older.
  • Falls now surpass motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of SCIs in the United States.

This findings of this study corroborate prior research suggesting that seniors are especially likely to suffer a spinal cord injury in a fall.  A study published in the Journal of Trauma: Injury, Infection and Critical Care warns of the danger of SCI injuries in ground-level falls involving the elderly.  Ground level falls are falls from a standing position when the fall victim’s feet are touching the ground prior to the fall.  These falls traditionally have been associated with minor injuries in the past.  However, this study reveals that fall victims who are age 70 and older are more like to suffer a severe injury and less likely to survive a ground-level fall.  Individuals over age 70 are three times more likely to die in a ground level fall according to the researchers.

Although the primary causes of SCIs differ based on the age of an injury victim, some of the most common causes include:

  • Slip and Fall (Trip and Fall)
  • Car Accident
  • Bullet or Stab Wound
  •  Sports Injury
  • Motorcycle Accident
  • Construction Accident
  • Trucking Accident

A severe spinal cord injury can have a profound impact on a victim’s quality of live by causing some or all of the following:

  • Loss of sensation & reflex function below the point of injury
  • Loss of control of other voluntary movement and muscles
  • Incapacity to perform autonomic activity like breathing, bladder control and bowel function
  • Pain or sensitivity to stimuli
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Muscle spasms

In addition to these primary effects of a serious SCI, victims of this form of debilitating injury often suffer secondary medical issues like bed sores, bladder infections and lung infections.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 39 Years of Experience to Work For You

If you or someone close to you has suffered a spinal cord injury because of the negligence of an individual, business or public entity, it is important to know your legal rights, which may include the right to seek financial compensation.  Our attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing those who suffer serious injuries throughout all of Georgia and in the Southeast for over thirty years, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat. 


Johns Hopkins Medicine, News Release, Jan. 27, 2014

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.